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Front Page » March 1, 2011 » Opinion » Guest column: The legislature nears the end of session
Published 1,246 days ago

Guest column: The legislature nears the end of session


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By By CHRISTINE WATKINS
State Representative District 69

On Feb. 22, the tax projections came out to the good for the people of Utah. We have approximately 260 million dollars to restore programs.

The Executive Appropriations Committee will start meeting this week in earnest to make adjustments to the state's departments.There will still need to be some cuts but hopefully they won't be as severe as earlier projected. I discovered that as the budget has fallen the last two years there has been much more scrutiny into the details of all of the departments that the state budget funds.

The Higher Education Tenure bill was killed in committee, HB 98, my Capital Outlay Modifications Bill passed the House 50-24, it is now in the Senate and hopefully it will be passed there later on this week.

SB 76, the bill that will help a number of our smaller communities that were impacted by the mining sales tax exemption, is now on the board in the House. I now have the responsibility to get it passed on the House floor. I will work hard to garner support for this bill. This bill has had many local elected officials and government agencies working together to help our smaller communities keep functioning.

One word of caution, when you read about a bill or hear about it on the television, please remember that the legislature can substitute or amend a bill in committee and on the floor of the House and Senate. If you have great interest in a bill please read the bill after it has passed both Houses. Very often it doesn't even resemble the original bill. You can log on to the Utah Legislature Home Page and look under bills to find the final draft of the bill.

We will stop having committee meetings Wednesday; after that we will be on the floor debating and voting on bills. You can can also listen to all committee meetings and floor debates by logging on to the state legislature website. I appreciate all of the local officials who have made the effort to come and visit during the session. The conversations are helpful and seeing someone from home also helps.

I will not support HB 299 which would make a local official who visits once or twice to register as a lobbyist. This is not necessary and punitive in nature.

I look forward to emails and calls from all of you. cwatkins@utah.gov.

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